"No Ocean for Young Women" by Anat Deracine
January 27, 2021 5:17 PM   Subscribe

An essay on learning to surf, on a career as a woman in technology, and on people helping each other: "when someone spreads a myth (such as, perhaps, a half-baked theory about biological predisposition towards shark attacks or software engineering), it acts like an oil spill. It can only be cleaned up to a certain extent. The damage has already been done." Deracine previously on MetaFilter.
“If you look down, you’ll go down,” Andrea says, as we struggle to stay upright on our boards. “Where’s your gaze?” That’s when I realize that in my career, the hardest transition I have ever had to make is from the frenzy of tactical execution to developing a strategic sense of direction. It is also the transition that so many women struggle to make, crashing hard against that seemingly impossible promotion into the senior ranks. When, as a manager, I have tried to coach people into making it past that point, I’ve focused on getting above the fray, in the same way that I used to try helplessly to get above the waves. You don’t have to do everything yourself, I’d tell them, your job is to figure out where we’re going and why. When they experienced the usual setbacks, had trouble getting heard, or had their ideas dismissed, I told them to focus on the goal and ignore the white noise. But it can still feel impossible, when new tasks and deadlines and expectations arrive without a break...

So many women in tech burn out treading water in that impact zone, unable to transition to the calmer waters beyond that one, last wave....

"In tech and in surfing: Are women allowed to dream? Or do we just expect them to run away from nightmares?"
posted by brainwane (6 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This is fantastic. Thank you for posting it.
posted by Tiny Bungalow at 10:13 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]

What Tiny Bungalow said.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:33 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

This is so good. I think that I have skills that probably would have made me good in tech, but at the end of the day, I just don't want to fight that hard. The surfing analogy is just so apt.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:55 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]

I loved this. Thanks for putting it up here.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:32 PM on January 28

This article has been sticking with me. Thanks for posting it.
posted by travertina at 6:00 AM on January 30

I finally read this. Excellent article. Thanks for posting.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:39 PM on February 22

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